Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef, in Wayne County, Utah, was established as a National Park in 1971. Protection efforts in the area began in 1921, and in 1937, President Roosevelt, a forward thinking outdoorsman, proclaimed it a National Monument. Over the years, land was added to the monument and by 1970 the acreage totaled 254,251.
In the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef is lesser known compared to Bryce Canyon, Arches and Zion, and was wonderfully un-crowded when my friend Nancy and I visited over the Memorial Day weekend. Like everywhere else in the west this year, (except California), May was a very wet month, and there were some places we were unable to explore due to extremely muddy roads. We made the best of what we could get to. I’ll have to plan another trip to get to Cathedral Valley and Notom.
Partly cloudy/partly stormy skies each day were a bonus, and temperatures were mild. While we occasionally had to wait out the rain in the car, it was worth it for the beautiful skies we enjoyed each day.
We hiked to Hickman Bridge, drove through the narrow, sheer-walled canyons of the Grand Wash, and viewed the ancient Fremont petroglyphs. During harvest season in the settlement of Fruita visitors can pick fruit in the orchards originally planted by Mormon settlers in the 1880’s, and if you’re there early enough in the day, buy homemade pies at the Gifford farmhouse, built in 1908.
The image pictured here was made from an area known as Sunset Point. With the sun low in the sky behind me, the rich red and orange tones popped, and it became my favorite place in the park to shoot. I love having dead or leafless trees in my compositions – they have so much character!
Over the course of the trip we traveled to Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Parks, and Dead Horse State Park and put 1700 miles on the car.
I got my red-rock fix, so I’m good to go for the year!
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